Thursday, December 23, 2010

Social Media Trends for 2011

As we approach 2011, we will see new trends for taking advantage of social media to connect, brand and influence. Enormous growth of third party applications have taken advantage of the new commerce infrastructure and community built by facebook.

Companies with simple ideas such as Zynga (games) and Groupon (coupons) have grown up so quickly they have become billion dollar enterprises almost overnight. They help to magnify the value of central place in which facebook has become in our lives. What does that mean for you personally and for your busines venture.

My belief it is a time to pause, think, reevaluate if you currently are in business. If you are in a startup mode, the word which we might "borrow" from wall street is "leverage". How can you leverage the multi-billion dollar facebook infrastructure and new emerging ones which Bill Gates alway s worried may be created in someone's garage.

Let's distill some of the value of Facebook, social networks and communications in 2011to some areas which will be valuable for you to consider.

1) Micro-targeting - Utilizing advertising on Facebook to target very select groups of audience based upon their interests, hometown, college, company, industry, and even who their friends are and what their interests are.

2) Event driven marketing - Events are a great way to continue to build your brand or you company by drivng people to a specific event at a specific time. By running events over time you drive new traffic to your store or business.

3) Mobile marketing - One of the emerging trends is that the mobile devices are now as powerful as laptops were just a few years ago. You will see this continue to the point where the primary device for intial contact is on the "phone/pda" versus the computer.

4) Video content - There is an incredible opportunity to be innovative in this area. Video content can be as simple as talking into your computer and recording your though and ideas to creating a film or television show to bring your ideas across. The trend of digital technology has allowed individuals to create and distribute full length feature films for under $10,000.

5) Personal Branding - The trend continues in which our personal and business lives are blending into a brand. What was once the domain of hollywood stars and trend setting ceo's such as Richard Branson and Donald Trump are the hottest area to distinguish yourself. My personal examples are creating personal/business brands such as MediaMensch and The Accidental Actor.

6) Gaming - On-line gaming is becoming one of the fastest growing areas of where people are spending their time. Games are not just a leisure activity, but a way to connect with the world. Whether it is playing online poker, building a virtual community or scrabble you can meet interesting people from around the world where fromthe start you share a common interest. Whether it is for personal interest or business interest, you can look at ways to reach the gaming community with advertising, product placement including on mobile technology..

7) Videoconferencing/Video Chat - A subtle evolution in video chat (Skype, Googletalk) has taken hold over the past few years and this continues to accelerate. Where the phone was just audio it is now becoming prevalent to have one to one or small group video chats where you can integrate not only audio, but text. One benefit of using these services is that you can do a few things you can not do on a regular call..record the conversation, text and share links while you talk, send a file and archive for future reference. In most cases this technology is free.

8) Privacy - If there is ever a collision course with the evolution of social media it is the concerns over privacy and trust. What was much the domain of your best friends and relatives is now on servers at companies such as Facebook and Google. In fact, it can be argued that the trail of information you have left on these services are so personal that even your closest friends or business associates may not know as much or remember as these services know about you. Such things that seem to be innocent or subtle such as linking your best friends or relatives can now be used by marketers and others to see who you associate with and influence.

9) Net Neutrality - This is a term again which is evolving. The internet which basically has evolved a "free" (and we mean that in many ways) platform is now under fire from corporations and media companies who want to be paid for the bandwidth and infrastructure they support. Driving this trend is that areas such as film and television are using exponentially more bandwidth than e-mails or clickthroughs to websites. This can be looked at again as a threat or opportunity depending on where you sit. As we move into 2011 and toward the 2012 election cycle in the US, areas such as government and corporate control of the internet will become a cenral debate with large lobbying fro all sides.

10) Geo-locating - New forms of products and services are evolving which allow us to be tracked or personally reportin on ehre we are in the world. With either sophisticated GPS based devices or services such as FourSquate where you can tell people what restaurant or hotel you have checked into. This is both a great way to meet up with friends or business associates on a spontaneous basis or to let people know of new places to check out. From a business perspective this is a new and subtle form of word of mouth marketing. Friends can see what venues their friends are frequeting whether it is a new cool restaurant or a resort hotel and places in between.

While all these trends emerge, one thing is a constant and that is "change". My thoughts for you my friends for 2011 are for you to find your passion and prosperity and "unplug" once in a while to see the world in simpler healthier terms. If you want to find ways to move forward, please feel free to contact "The Mensch" for coaching or advising your in your personal branding or business endeavors.
Skype: ewarrior\mediamensch\accidentalactor

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Fullest Shortest Day of the Year

Yesterday was the winter solstice, lunar eclipse and the shortest day of the year. I was also one of the most rewarding days for my "accidental actor" journey. My journey continues to bring surprises and new areas which never entered my mind when I started down my journey in the acting world.

Yesterday, I had two new things I had never done before. I worked on an industrial/commerical video for a major financial company in a role of a college professor teaching a class. This time was different as I wan the only actor in the room while they were filming. The director asked me to ad-lib a lecture on a subject I knew well. So I decided to teach a class on entrepreneurship.

In the afternoon, they agency which filmed me in the morning, asked me to be part of a photoshoot for a national real estate company which is a well known brand. I was a real estate agent showing an upscale house to a married couple. This was my first commercial photoshoot and was told the photos may be used for stock photos for print.

Part of this also fits perfectly into my philosophy of life and growth and those which I coach my clients. In order to grow, challenge yourself to "Do two new things a week that you have never done before." Yesterday was one of those days.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Power of Facebook Pages for Film Marketing

Facebook Pages have allowed independent films to build audiences and fans throughout all stages of their evolution. This means that small films with no marketing budget can reach hundreds or thousands of fans around the world by simply developing a page on facebook.

Even in the earliest stages of filmmaking, creating awareness of the film though the friends of the production team and actors can create a ripple effect and a buzz about your film. Awareness of the film can easily reach hundreds, not thousands of people even as you are in the earliest stages. Techniques such as adding videos, photos and events can amplify this awareness.

Integrating video on platforms such as Vimeo or Youtube with facebook and twitter becomes a powerful combination. Loading video of trailers or teasers directly into Facebook and tagging those in the videos also creates a sense of intimacy between the creators of the movie and its audience. The videos which may have been shown on a DVD as behind the scenes can be edited and posted now in a facebook page and shared.

Facebook is the largest photo site in the world. Filmmakers can take advantage of this by having high quality still photography from the movie set to red carpet events. Also they can post headshots of cast and crew which can be easily shared. This can bring a new level of connection that can may not be done in a mulitmillion dollar national tv marketing campaign. The pictures posted at various points of the development of the film project provides a 360 view of the life of the film creating a new intimacy with the fans

Using the events area of facebook can then be used during the film development from everything from auditions to extras casting to the film premiere. Events can also be used as reminders for the release of the DVD or other important milestone.

The combination of all these elements create a new way reach broader audience and bring your message in an efficint and intimate way to the fans.

I have had the opportunity to work with producers on their film marketing strategies from the development of the trailers to their social media content including a documentary project with Meryl Streep. You can see some of the detail on the IMDB page

Friday, October 29, 2010

Barry Levinson - The Bay

Many of you know, I consider myself the "accidental actor", since opportunities to work with some of the leading actors and filmmakers in the world are happening without leaving the Carolinas.

Last month, I had the opportunity to travel to Georgetown, SC to work on a film with legendary director Barry Levinson, (Rain Man, Diner, Good Morning Vietnam). This film is being shot in a docu-drama format. It is a story of a virus which jumps from fish to humans in the Chesapeake Bay.

The scene I was fortunate to work on was shot at the hospital in Georgetown. Upon my arrival on day 1 of my two day shoot, I was in the special effects makeup chair for about 90 minutes while I became "diseased".I had the opportunity to have the makeup provided by some very talented special effects makeup artists.

We worked on various scenes around the hospital and although I was a background extra, had a chance to be on camera a lot, including some other special effects while we shot scenes.

One of the fun and interesting things which occurred, was that I kept my makeup on between day one and day two. With the makeup on my face which looked zombie-like, I went to the Front Street area of town and walked in the bar. I did get some looks as I found a table in the corner of the pub. I got some really strange looks as the makeup looked very real.

Well, this two day experience was another great part of the journey of the accidental actor.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Remnants - Trailer 1

Film Trailer from 'Remnants' (2011). My role was as Dr. Wilson, head of the national academy of sciences. The movie was filmed in North Carolina.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

My "Junior Year" in NASCAR media

The Coca Cola 600 weekend in May 2010 was the beginning of my third year in my journey in NASCAR media or what I call the beginning of my "Junior Year". This means I am able to have a deeper understanding of the sport, the sponsors, the brands, the drivers, teams and the publicity machine behind the sport. My first few years were about "listening and watching" and networking. I was able to gain a broad understanding of the "matrix" which makes NASCAR one of the most complex sports around.

From grassroots family teams such as the Woods Brothers to the cutting edge teams such as Hendrick Motorsports and RoushFenway Racing, NASCAR has evolved into a major league sport with its own Hall of Fame this year.

Over the past year which I'll call my sophomore year, I started to actually make some small impact on the sport and build a network. In January, 2010, MediaMensch Networks produced the Social Media Motorsports Summit which was attended by many of the major teams and their pr/marketing firms plus a senior executive from NASCAR.

In the past few months at local press conferences I started to ask questions of some drivers such as Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and NASCAR Hall of fame driver and team owner, Richard Petty.

Based upon my experiences, I am starting to look at my niche of how the sport reaches their fans and ties into their drivers and brands using social media. As an entrepreneur, the other viewpoint is how organizational dynamics such as teamwork happen with in NASCAR. So over the next year, I am looking forward to building stronger relationships, writing more in-depth and regular stories about the sport and producing our 2nd Social Media Motorsports Summit this fall.

As with my journey in media, marketing and technology it is the wonderful people that you meet along the way who help you learn and mentor you that enriches the experience.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Creative Crowdsourcing - Cutting Edge Creativity

The journey in electronic communications began back in 1991 when I was advising my clients to adopt a new form of communications called MCI Mail (e-mail). On the heels of the fax revolution, many clients were slow to adopt and adapt. The clients who did saw great savings and a growing increase in productivity. Communications technology has always had the potential to make the world smaller and speed up communications. Now these communications are moving to the next level in a world of exchange of ideas with the masses or what is known as the "crowd".

Crowdsourcing has the ability to create tremendous creative breakthroughs for companies and individuals.

As part of my cutting edge journey in media, marketing and technology, I am working with GeniusRocket to promote this concept and educate marketing executives and entrepreneurs on the benefits of this new process. At GeniusRocket, we are creating amazing viral video content. You can see our case studies in the hall of fame and in the case studies.

We are in good company in seeing this as the vision of the future. One of the other companies in our space is called MoFilm and is also doing amazing work with global brands. In fact, the producer of Titanic and Avatar has actively participated in this crowdsourcing niche promoting this concept to filmmakers.

It is easy to become part of the cutting edge movement as a producer of content or a company who wants to tap into this creative process. At GeniusRocket, we tap into our community with a 'Request for Brilliance' (RFB). Join me in this journey! If you have any questions, I am happy to help you get ready to launch into this new journey.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

MediaMensch announces LinktoCharlotte Live!

We kicked off LinktoCharlotte Live! events with a dinner at the Dilworth Neighborhood Grille on March 31. To be on our mailing list join our new meetup group at

We had a dinner with great conversation and networking. We learned about green technologies from John Dabels, CEO, EV Powersystems who was th first recipient of the Charlotte Business Journal's Green Idea of the Year award, Our discussion turned to Charlotte and the need for the city to become green and really look at issues such as bike lanes and the supporting of business. We also discussed the changes of Charlotte of the years and how much further it needs to go to become a world class city. We were in agreement that one of the things Charlotte needs to do to become a world class city is to create a theatre district.

We look forwrd to seeing you at our next meeting on April 28 (the last Wednesday of each month)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Emerging Charlotte Film Community

Charlotte, NC has a tremendous amount of emerging talent in the film community including actors, directors, producers, and voiceover specialists. With the advent of high definition digital video technology, it is now easier to produce independent films.

As digital filmmaking grows, there are more opportunities for local talent to have time on a movie set gaining valuable experience. This is a very supportive community, many who began their careers within the last few years. In a few cases it started with George Clooney bringing the movie "Leatherheads" to Charlotte 3 years ago.

Another area of the Carolinas which is also growing in projects include the Wilmington, NC area which includes a sound stage for Screen Gems. It is where they produce the tv series called One Tree Hill. In Charleston, about 3 hours from Charlotte, the television show Army Wives is shot.

On the first Monday of each month, there is a meeting of the Charlotte Film Community. This early stage meetup has accelerated the networking which brings all of this talent together. In my personal case, this already led to a role in a short comedy film called "The Chicken Hustle".

One advantage of filming in North Carolina is the lower cost of labor. North Carolina is "right to work" state, meaning primariy non-union. As a result, anyone who wants to work on a film is able to do so. There are more opportunities for films to be made here as the economics favor the producer and filmmakers. Many actors love the collaborative work of making a film and usually will work at a much more reasonable pay scale including "free". For many productions which aspiring talent will work for the experience and resume building, the "pay" comes in the form of food on the set, a copy of the movie/dvd or credit in the movie.

It is thrilling to watch all the emerging talent coming from the Charlotte area. Some of this talent has already begun to split their time between here and Los Angeles. If you have a dream of working in film, the journey can start here.

For me personally, 2010 is my year where I will be accelerating from being a featured extra to small speaking roles. A wonderful opportunity for this "accidental actor" and mediamensch.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Andrew Kaplan Live - Public Speaking, Radio, and TV

Andrew Kaplan,award winning Toastmaster and public speaker, is speaking to groups around the country regarding social media and branding. Kaplan brings a lively and interesting perspective to his talks which can be customized to your group. Kaplan brings his unique perspective of being an early adopter of social media combined with his backgrond working in traditional media. In 1987, Kaplan started a consulting practice to bring sales and mobile computing technologies to with over 200 companies including 30 Fortune 500 companies. If your organization would like to book, Kaplan as a speaker, please contact us with your dates, name of your group and topic.

Andrew Kaplan Public Speaking Biography

Andrew R. Kaplan is the Managing Partner of MediaMensch Networks, a company focused on building brands and communities using social media and traditional public relations. Over the past two years Kaplan has launched LinktoCharlotte which was one of the first and now one of the fastest growing Charlotte groups on LinkedIn. He also launched LinktoMotorsports which has over 700 executives from around the world and includes an advisory board from Motocross, NASCAR, NHRA and Boat Racing.

In 2007, Kaplan started blogging as a facebook branding expert in his blog Facebook Enthusiast. In 2008, voted an article featuring Kaplan's discussion of Facebook Branding, as #1 in its "Great Minds" series.

Kaplan recently has been involved with the local film industry as what he calls "an accidental actor". He has worked on 6 films from major motion pictures such as Leatherheads to local independent films. In January 2009, he received a "movie credit" as Social Media Marketing Advisor for the independent film In/Significant Others.

Kaplan is also on the advisory board, providing marketing and branding advice, to EVPowersystems which won the "2008 Green Idea of the Year Award" from the Charlotte Business Journal for the development of electric hybrid trucks and the eco-vehicle.

Kaplan began his career in college at WNBC radio at 30 Rock and worked in the early days at Home Box Office and The Movie Channel. After his career took a turn, he became one of the first trainers and certified consultants for ACT! contact management software. His company ARK Sales Automation Group brought sales and marketing technology to hundreds of companies in the NY/New England Market including Gartner Group, GE Capital, Virgin Atlantic, and Colgate Palmolive. He personally trained over 5,000 sales and marketing executives worldwide. He moved to Charlotte in 1995 to start his family and to build the new market around the banking sector and professional sports.

Kaplan enjoys giving back to the community and working with non-profits and received awards for leadership over the past few years including Toastmasters International NC President of the Year, NC Area Governor of the Year and Dickinson College's Alumni Volunteer of the Year. In Connecticut, he was one of the founding leaders and chairman of Corporate Volunteers In Action, a professional community volunteer group serving the Fairfield County area.

Currently Kaplan coaches business executives and creative professionals who are working on their own brands. He has active clients from countries such as Ireland, Germany, and Italy which found him using social networking. He also has a valuable team of coaches and advisors to help him reach his personal and professional goals as well.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Social Media Motorsports Summit Takes Checkered Flag

For Immediate Release
Contact: Andrew Kaplan
Media Mensch

Social Media Motorsports Summit Takes Checkered Flag

Industry Leaders and Influencers Gather to Build Social Media Horsepower for 2010 Season

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Feb 3, 2010) – Try as you may, you can’t hear a “tweet” over the roar of race cars, but if you embrace social media you’ll quickly see it has more horsepower than 43 cars taking the green flag at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The first Social Media Motorsports Summit concluded at the Charlotte Westin, where motorsports and social media leaders met to discuss trends and share best practices. Now that one of every four Americans gets the news online, a communications authority wonders if one can conduct a successful enterprise without engaging social media.

"When I was at the May NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, I saw an opportunity to help brands with social media strategies and programs,” said Andy Kaplan, Chief Idea Officer at MediaMensch. Kaplan also saw demand for the social media motorsports event from MediaMensch’s members, a group of over 1,500 motorsports professionals worldwide who embrace social media. Kaplan has spent his career working with corporations to become early adopters of technology and built his brand on being ahead of the technology curve.

Panel topics ranged from creating a social media toolbox and measuring social media ROI to social media and brands and social media trends. A broad spectrum of expertise was represented by speakers including Mark Walsh (GeniusRocket), Craig Coblenz (Facebook), Terry Dry (Fanscape), Ramsey Poston (NASCAR), Leilani M√ľnter (ARCA driver/environmental activist), Joe Tripp (SPEED), Kevin Kennedy (PCG Campbell/Ford Racing), Jeff Gluck ( and Stephanie Agresta (Porter Novelli).

Keynote speaker Walsh put social media in perspective and set the tone of the summit when he discussed the change of marketing from elevator speech to the microscript – a simple one or two-word phrase that captures brand essence and consumer self perception. Think of President Obama’s campaign microscript of “change”. Kennedy, EVP, PCG Campbell / Ford Racing shared, "I really enjoyed the Summit and the exchange of ideas between the panelists and the audience. The discussions covered a broad spectrum of ideas of where Social Media is now and where it is headed in the future, and left everyone who attended richer for the experience."

The power and use of social media was not just conversation, but was also actively practiced as attendees “tweeted” and updated Facebook pages on their laptops throughout the day-long event. Joining in the conversations were representatives from Chevrolet, Toyota, Stewart Haas, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Stewart-Haas Racing, JR Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing. Participants and speakers came from Los Angeles, New York, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Detroit and Daytona Beach.

“The Social Media Motorsports Summit proved that online community and social networking is having a huge impact on the motorsports industry in general and NASCAR fans in particular. In 2010, social media will grow to be an even bigger part of marketing and exposure for this sport.” said Agresta, who is EVP of Social Media and Digital Strategy at Porter Novelli.

Future Social Media Motorsports events are being planned for New York City and in Charlotte in May to coincide with the NASCAR Hall of Fame opening and the race festivities for the Coca Cola 600. Social Media Motorsports also plans to offer a “virtual summit” to accommodate motorsports professionals worldwide.

Additional information about the Social Media Motorsports Summit, please visit the summit website at and the Facebook fan page at The twitter hashtag for the event is #smmsummit.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Social Media Trends in 2010 - Are you Planning or Reacting?

As we enter 2010, Social Media is spreading faster than any technology we have ever seen. MediaMensch Networks currently putting together a series of Social Media events for the Motorsports Industry and are planning events for film and entertainment as well.

Last year, many companies did not plan or budget for social media, nor did they set up a social media strategy. Many reacted and experimented to see what worked with results being mixed. Now organizations will find that it is essential to combine social media with their traditional branding strategies to reach their customers, clients and fans. For example, should the CEO or a celebrity twitter? Should public relations "control" the content? What impact does social media have on current marketing practices? Did you feel it is important enough to budget to get your own ROI - ("Return on Influence")?

Our company, MediaMensch Networks is out there reviewing social media strategies and advising on what tactics may work. Our ability to stay current and provide "out of the box" approaches can lead to new solutions and tactics leveraging social media. MediaMensch's Social Media audits and review are a great way to jumpsstart your social media planning and process.

For more information contact, Andrew Kaplan, or call 704-293-2151. or find the MediaMensch fan page on Facebook.